While the girls worked on the cats’ house, I did my morning rounds. No harvesting in the garden today, but check out this pumpkin!
It’s almost completely changed colour! The second one is just beginning to show the tiniest change in colour at the blossom end, but is otherwise still very dark green.
Once the regular rounds were done, I headed out with some buckets and started our first harvest of crab apples. Mostly, I just shook the branches that I could reach, then picked up what fell.
I got about 10 gallons of crab apples that way. There are still lots on the tree, but I couldn’t reach the branches to shake them. Plus, I don’t have any more buckets available.
After bringing the buckets to the house, I used the hose to fill them with water to do a cursory wash.
I had curious company.
Then the apples got transferred out of the buckets.
These corrugated plastic bins are the handiest things!!
They have holes cut into the bottom, like what you can see on the sides, but a good layer of shredded paper made sure no apples fell though, while also absorbing water from their rinsing.
Shredded paper is something else we’ve been finding very handy. We shred only paper that is compostable, like fliers and the like. Printers switched to vegetable based inks decades ago, so they’re fine. Just no glossy paper or anything like that. Those go for the burn barrel.
We’ve used the shredded paper as mulch, as compostable layers buried in new garden beds, as a base under tomatoes ripening indoors, and now for crab apples. We even keep the shredder, sitting over a recycling bag on a wire frame holder, in the dining room all the time for convenient shredding.
The first thing we will be doing with the apples is to make crab apple cider vinegar again. That is the fastest and easiest thing to get started. Then we will be making more hard crab apple cider. We have so many crab apples on the one tree this year, we should be able to make more of both this time.
The “mother” left from our previous ACV is still around, but I don’t think it would be safe to use, so I bought some apple cider vinegar with mother to use as a starter. After experimenting with using an airlock or just covering the fermenting jars with cheesecloth, I’m just going to use cheesecloth this time.
The other thing we will be able to do differently this time is to use the big aquarium to hold the fermenting jars. It is already lined with rigid insulation from when we used the space as a greenhouse, so the temperature will remain quite even, and it has cat proof covers over it. It’ll be easier to keep an eye on it in the living room than in the old kitchen.
As for the hard apple cider, we should have enough crab apples to make it worth digging out the wine making kit and using the 5 gallon bucket and carboy for fermentation. We’ll make that decision after the vinegar is started, and we see just how many crab apples we end up with. We’ll probably need to break out the step ladder to pick more apples.
A good problem to have! Especially after having none, last year.
I’m quite looking forward to this!